Into the night (story reading)


It was cold, the floor was always cold. Bare foot or with socks. The coldness seemed to spread with each step, like walking on ice. But it didn’t matter so much tonight.

He flung the duvet back and they woke with a start, their eyes suddenly ablaze.

“Is it time?” they asked, sitting up and pushing back into the deep plush pillows.

“It is, let’s go.” He spoke, calmly but with an urgency…..

 

Read on

On cosmic sand

Varied in hues, blurring to a view of angelic replication.
Divinity leaking from your bones.
I find you there, holding on to the edge of redemption.
Picking pearls up from our past.
The beach weighs heavy, cresting out from our circumstance.
I had to travel to find you.
You had to forget to believe.
In this peaceful rush of sweet sea air.
Mottling the very face of time.
I have returned, to that place where forever was promised.
Now, as sparks in the sand threaten joy.
The colour of contentment washes over you.
Knowing that the next step will demand such strength.
And in the arms of each other.
We are rock steady and prepared.

Opium for the soul

I feel no pain. I feel nothing.
An uncomfortable numbness itching in my bones.
How your lips bring about such devastation.
Apathaites my heart and bubbles my blood.
Oh the sweet bends that rush, twisting my insides out.
You are the opium for my soul.
The novocaine for my conscience.
Which constantly waivers into unstable territory.
You keep my ghost steady as I walk this earth.
Getting high from the lows you put me under.
Feeling flight as you watch me crawl.
Love, such a compromise anyway.

Silence and light

Between the moments.
Straddling the sigh.
The light there in your eyes.
What seeps into the space between.
Bookended against love and needful things.
What must I give, to receive.
This alchemy on the tempering waves of now.
In the dwindling darkness of despair.
My ego tried to take me there.
To a place where I need not change.
A gloomy existence of languished dead dreams.
But light split the seams.
Silently breaking a new dawn.
Whispering forever.

Heroes don’t come easy

“Eurgh, you again.” He thought he was there, but wasn’t sure at first. He’d left the backdoor open, though the day was bitter, winter already licking at them with its frosty tongue. He’d popped out quickly to refill the bird feeders he had hanging in his garden. The seedy offering had attracted a number of birds recently, and he was keen for the blue jay to return. He had seen it there recently, resting on the roof of his shed before going for some seed at the feeder by the bottom of the garden. The one towards the house, dangling off an old hanging basket, was territorially protected by a small puffed-up robin who he’d taken to name Carol, the traits of an old neighbour which seemed fitting as she flittered and fussed from one garden to the other.

“Make yourself at home then.” He said, astounded at the brazenness on display. Sitting at the kitchen table, the man creaked back on the wooden chair, a hand-me-down from his mother; he could see the spindly farmhouse legs straining under the weight of the man.

“Don’t mind if I do, my place as much as yours.” The man said, reclining back further; seemingly to prove a point.

“You’d like to believe that wouldn’t you!” He replied, angrily, shaking the packet of tea at him that he’d been holding; a few green tea flakes spilling over the side and tumbling to the floor like emerald snowflakes.

The man said nothing, and looked away.

A cold burst of air flooded the kitchen and the door creaked back. Where as before the nice fresh air had been welcomed in the heavy stone lined kitchen, a chill now shivered up the man, but he was hesitant to shut the door. He knew the man would be here too long as it was. A second wave of cold left him no choice, and he stepped angrily towards the door, slamming it was a force that shook one of the display plates on the wall.

“Mine’s black, no sugar. And none of that healthy Asian crap. Normal tea.” The man said, kicking his shoes off.

“How did I know it would be black!” he replied, walking back towards the kettle which had whistled a while ago on the stove.

“You’re not staying, so have your tea then piss off.” He said, taking down some PG tips from a small cupboard. He had this for whenever his sister ever came over; a builder’s brew she preferred.

“Well, as we always know Jake, that is entirely up to you.” The man leaned forward, resting his elbows on the table. He stroked his beard philosophically, as if he’d revealed some great wisdom. Jake stood there, the kettle in hand, and waited for anything else from him. But that it seems was all.

“You always do this, just when things are going well. Why don’t you go and bother someone else for a change?” He said, turning back to make the tea.

There was a small silence before the man spoke again.

“I’ve known you for a long time, we’ve been friends Jake. Closer before, but you have drifted. You’ve pushed me aside. I won’t say it didn’t hurt. After all we had been through, and all I’ve done for you.”

“Done for me?!” Jake seemed to roar into the kitchen.

“If you please. Yes, all I’ve done for you. When everyone left you, I was there. When the money was gone, I helped you. You seem to forget all this in your peace of mind and holier-than-thou state.” The man said, his brow furrowed.

Jake had stirred the tea cup, a dainty little thing that seemed small and precious in his huge hand. He put it on the table and it looked like a dolls cup next to the huge frame of the man who sat there. He’d been sitting there, only a few minutes, yet his stature seemed to have grown slightly. The weight of him and his words dominating that space of his kitchen. The man seemed to loom over the table, but he took the cup in his hand as if to warm them with it.

“Ta for the cuppa.” He said, smiling.

“I’m not holier-than-thou, I’ve just moved on. Outgrown all that other stuff, made things better. You just can’t seem to deal with that. If you feel left behind, I’m sorry; but it’s your choice to move forward or not.” Jake said.

The man at the table thought about this.

“You think you’ve moved on, you haven’t Jakey boy. You’re still the same. I can see it, I know it. How do you think I even got in here?” He said, taking a sip of the tea, the cup seeming to disappear into the great mass of beard that swallowed it.

Jake turned then, looking out of his kitchen window. He could hear the man at the table, sipping the tea and heaving on the chair. But he hoped that if he’d turn back, he would be gone. He tried to find the birds in his garden, the grey clouds above blanketing the world in a white canvas of light. But nothing, the garden seemingly devoid of life now. Not even the squirrels which were forever darting about, hiding bulbs and chestnuts.

The cup clinked on the table, and he turned back around to face the man. He’d risen from his seat and had stepped towards Jake, his arms outstretched.

“Jakey boy, come here.” He said, and embraced him in what should’ve been a warm hug, owing to the size of him and big woollen jumper he had on. Instead, the icy coldness ran through Jake as the man’s arms secured themselves around his back and pulled him in, the beard scratching the side of his face. The coldness travelled all throughout his body, as If little icy daggers were swarming his blood stream. He was stuck with the man holding him tight, squeezing now and talking. Mumbling words into his ear.

“You and me, forever. You can’t deny it, we work well as a team Jake. I’ll move in, take the smaller room. Plenty of space. I’ll help you with the job thing, you can quit that new one, it won’t work out for you, so fucking hoity toity them people there. And as for you know who, well you’re better off without them. You don’t need them around here, you can’t be they man they want you to be, so best to give in before they hurt you. That pain Jake, you know that pain. You don’t want that again.” The man hissed, his words seeming to smoke around his head like a hazy cloud of distaste. Jake tried to pull away, but the man pulled tighter.

“Don’t struggle, you did that before and remember what happened. They all thought you’d lost your fucking mind. Those bastards. Off your rocker, breakdown. What do they know? Jakey, you don’t want any of that. Let me come and stay, let me in; you know what it will take for it to happen. You know what I need for you to say.” The man went on, his mouth ever closer to Jake’s ear.

THUD

They both turned to look at the kitchen window. A Small sparrow had smacked into the glass and tumbled to the windowsill beneath where the spring plants were usually planted. He’d had tulips there this year, and Jake had a flash of the red and purple flowers in his head momentarily before the bird, seeming to have righted itself and with little damage, took off again out into the world.

This was enough for Jake to pull away from the man, and he shoved back, the black jumper turning to a black treacle in his palms as he pushed back and stepped away from him. He turned quickly, time being essential he knew. His strength wouldn’t last, he knew this was the test, and his resolve was shaken. Even now those words the man had spoken were coursing within him, finding pathways to his mind and heart. He sped quickly to the kitchen drawer, pulling it out so fast it tumbled to the floor, spilling out the cutlery like a vomiting mouth.

“Jake?” the man said, but he was as shocked as Jake was as the carving fork was rammed deep into his throat. Jake’s hands, black with the treacle, pulled back and plunged again, deeper this time as if hoping to break through to the other side. Darkness there, suddenly in the eyes of the man. The pupils just pits of despair, a pulling planet hauling him with its own gravity. Shaking, Jake turned away, stumbling on the knives, spoons and forks which had spilt across his kitchen floor. He slipped on a small cheese knife, another hand-me-down from his mother’s house, and his head found the side of the rustic sink, the white porcelain smudged now with a bloody smear, like a crimson fingerprint as Jake found his own way to the floor.

LATER

The birds had returned, Carol was flitting back and forth from the fence to the feeder, flicking seed on the ground as she went. A blackbird watched Jake from the bushes, her tail seeming to bob in time to the motion of his digging. A small hole, no bigger than a shoebox, freshly dug in the cold ground; taking longer than usual in the frozen soil.

Jake was on his knees down at the bottom of his garden. He put the trowel to one side and laid the heart carefully into the ground. It was blacker than he’d imagined it ever could be, and he shivered slightly, the motion hurting his head which now sported a huge wrap around bandage. He pulled the cold soil over the hole, the blackbird watching as he did, keen to seen what would happen if anything.

Nothing of course, with little ceremony Jake stood, brushed down his knees and returned to his house. He’d picked up the spilt cutlery from the floor and popped it on the side, they’d need sorting in to the divider properly before going back into the drawer which he’d already slid into place. The carving fork had tumbled under the table, and he reached now to retrieve it. It was clean, only a tip of blackness stained the tip, looking more like old age than anything else.

He’d been surprised to wake and find nothing but the heart on the floor, the life of the thing clinging on as it beat a few more times there on the kitchen tiles. Jake determinedly killed the thoughts once more in his head, the swarming doubts and darkness, and with a final flurry the heart had heaved to a stop.

Placing the fork on the side with the others, he breathed out, a long deep breath that let the weight of everything escape. He scratched his beard and glanced out again into the garden, his eyes finding where he’d buried the heart. And he smiled, knowing now it would remain buried.

“Now, finally for my tea.” He said to the thankfully empty kitchen.

Indemnity

Stay was a word that hung in the air.
Everything else was torn down, packed and registered.
Brought out of the vault to tally up.
Staying meant deserting.
It was something they could not understand.
The pieces of a life quietened.
Dormant dreams that may never awake.
I need a love that’s stronger.
Was all that could be mustered.
From a breath that was losing air and strength.
‘Then never think of me.’
Closing their eyes to a mounting disaster.
One that came in with the rain.
That day I left.
Impossible words ringing in ears
Ones that had heard such sweetness before.

Closing doors that would never again be opened.
Shutting the windows to suffocate the memories.
The price we pay to save ourselves, when our worth is so low.
Once thought so precious.
Pales compared to the devil, who sits in the shadows.
Tallying up our souls.

Softer like that sigh


SOFT LIKE A SIGH
Sleep speckles these eyes.
Leaving dreams like fingerprints on my eyelids.
I break that vision of you down, prismed and scattered.
Tasting like crystal.
When the fragrant sound of your voice touched me.
I unfurled like a bud awakening to the morning song.
The sheet of love hangs across my heart, pounding like the rain.
You step inside, feeling the walls to my lungs while you breathe new life in.
Breath like ocean spray and the hint of gladioli.
I mark this dream, for it’s the only place I can find you.
The only place I trust you to be there.
Collected and kept like a shell on a mantlepiece.
Placed for my own enjoyment, and a sign of a well-travelled bones.
Yet the possession bothers you not, for you rise like the moon in daytime.
Defiant against the sun.
Casting long reaching shadows that follow me throughout my day.
Cooling my skin where I touch upon them.
Touching part of your soul, those bits you let escape.
It must be a waking dream that haunts and carries me.
Keeping me contacted and close.
Cuddled against the consternation of being alive.
Being of being, with you so far away.

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Conspicuous by its absence

Welcome to the survival.
The nest in the mind, padded with gold and turpentine.
Cleansing the stain of a life lived in regret.
Galvanising all that remains.
Precious in its circumstance.
Your uniqueness burns like a church candle.
Sacred.
Cherished.
Sanctified and blessed by its very existence.
Placed there by someone who cared to care.
What is lost, can be forgotten.
The darkness leaves little space.
We fill this void with flowers.
Where the teeth once were rotten.
An ivory tower of hope now climbs.
All inside.
Built back upon tears and upheaval.
Pulled out from the most terrible of histories.
Yet still breathing, a product of now.
Electrified by the thought of change.
Scatter your sparks into the spaces that ache in emptiness.
And save yourself, for only you ever can.

Jaws

Those words that flowered down in your skin.
Tickling like cancer.
A love that swelled like a harbour master’s fear.
At the sight of a storm.
You put this in me. I drank it in.
Siphoned off the flames like a bird of paradise.
Flying towards the sun.
Down into the roots of your stomach.
Innocence searching, now lost in moments just begun.
Borrowed, broken. Black and blue.
Rubbed off skin, down to the hurt and bone.
Hold me in your jaws, feel the juicy love between.
Swallow me.
Tastes like goodness.
Tastes like emptiness.
For in the morning, I am gone.

Patterns on our soul

Wandering in a time of danger.
Leaves me shaking.
My cheeks all rosy red.
Winter, creeping into my eyes like tears.
But inside, it’s all warm.
All still wet.
Gushing a crimson love that is full of elation.
Utopic movements cloaked in everyday actions.
A sideways look to you.
Words pulled from my mouth like pearls.
A cough to breathe, bringing up sand and seaweed.
Having dredged our love from the bottom of the ocean.
Down in the depths where the wreckage once lay.
There is sand in your eyes, sparkling like gold.
You lick moments over me now.
Silky and familiar.
Once a comforting lie, now this time a truth.
This is now, the place we have crashed and shattered into.
Burning still from the fire.
Fading away in the rain of a thousand lifetimes.
Let me suck that eucalyptus air from your lungs.
For I only want to breathe now, if you are breathing.

Fading


FADE

Hold me and heal me.
Chase the darkness away.
Rock me to sleep.
Cut your wrists and then stay.
Forever in this palace of darkness and time.
Locked in a dream.
All beautiful and mine.
Forget all the world, with its promise of pain.
Hold me and fade.
Like a tear in the rain.

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The Flowers of revolution

Have you seen?
God’s opportunity.
Inside psalms which scratch your heart.
Voices so strong they stabilise heaven.
Disappear and discover that new challenge.
Which calls you higher.
You remember the way I fell.
I remember your outstretched healing hands.
It’s my only reference point now.
Blooming the songs and suspicions in my mind.
How could you be so sincere?
This imagination comes alive and shakes me.
My snow globe mind.
And in mind of my defence, I used to not believe.
Your simple kiss changed that.
And shook me deep.
These flowers I now weep.


Taken from Kill ’em with kindness – out now

Hunted

Are you haunted or hunted?
Crossing streams of inky despair.
Trying to slip away into the night.
A hunted animal.
Arrow marked and sought out.
It is not the jungle you wish to return to.
The scraping spires of the city is the one you hope to leave.
But they won’t let you be.
You’re a hunted animal.
Wiping tears on leaves as you run.
Putting out the forest fires.
But soon your heart tires.
Waiting for collapse.
Still hunted.
Still haunted.
On the edge of extinction.

Forever winter (Part 30 – The End)

The Story so far or Listen to this episode


The Lady of Europa

The snow was falling, coming down in huge puffs that peppered the trees that surrounded the cottage, adding another layer to the white blanket that silently covered all. Sleigh bells jingled, turning on the bend that took the path over a small bridge and brought the cottage into sight. The river had frozen over in parts, but little trickles of running water struggled through, flowing under the small bridge that the sleigh now crossed. The children were running alongside the great wooden beast, hopping on the back, and riding along with it. Along with the snow clouds, came the diminished light and the great silver lanterns of the sleigh twinkled at the front and back, catching the white expanse like pockets of tiny diamonds.

The gentlemen of the boxes pulled the sleigh, his huge bulk doing the work of any animal and with seemingly little strain. He watched as one of the children threw a snowball, ducking at the last minute as it sailed by and caught one of the other’s smack in the mouth.

“Close one Benjamin.” He said, laughing heartily, gripping the rope tighter that pulled the sleigh, turning it around the bend.

”You’re so big, it’s amazing he missed you!” Chu said, giggling as she jumped up onto the sleigh which was somewhat empty. They had travelled with the gentleman as he passed through the village and the neighbouring cottages and houses, delivering much needed items such as food and firewood to those stuck by the snow. The children were cold, but happy, eager to get to the cottage now and warm by the fire.

The cottage stuck up like a yellow tooth in a mouthful of white teeth, topped by the snow with its layer of icing. The gentlemen pulled the sleigh to a stop by the gate, breathing out a warm breath into the cold air.

“You’re coming in, right?” Samuel asked, already taking off his mittens. The others stood silent, waiting for his reply. The Gentleman looked into the sleigh, noting the remaining items, and deciding he had some time still and could stop for a little while.

“Sure, as long as there is cake.” He said, smiling and rubbing his hands together for warmth.

Stacey rolled her eyes and sighed.

“You know there’s always cake!” She said, matter of factly. And they pushed through the gate and made their way towards the small cottage door. The lamp that stood illuminating the path glowed with a blue light, casting a magical glow across the garden, now hidden by the snow.

“Can I do it this time?” Victor queried, running towards the door.

“You did it last time, it’s Rachel’s turn.” Gina pointed out, flicking off some snow from her shoulder which had fallen from the alcove above their heads.

“Ohhh, fine!” Victor said and stood back a little, allowing Rachel to shuffle to the front. The gentlemen joined them by the door, his mind taken only briefly to times gone by when this place had meant something most different to him. He watched as Rachel reached up to a glass jar. Its contents were red, almost like a curling smoke which moved around the sphere. She tipped it upside down on its bracket, and the contents began to bubble and swirl, emitting glorious little golden sparks. The smoky substance seemed to slide and move downwards in the jar, turning to a vibrant aquamarine.

“I love this bit.” Victor said, watching the sparks now as they trickled out of the jar and washed over the doorframe. Around the bracket of the door, a stone archway began to glow, the sparks of light drawn to it and creating a magical entryway.

The lady of the jars sat by a small swing in the back of her cottage as the sun shone down and basked them in tangerine light. P’erl was going higher and higher on the swing, smiling, and closing her eyes as the wind washed over her. The lady of the jars smiled as she watched P’erl, who more than once rode the swing around a full rotation, then returned to the book she was reading, or at least trying to read. She had been learning Europan, but she still struggled with many of the symbols of the alphabet.

“A half flower type one?” She called to P’erl who whizzed on by her.

“Sacred or sanctify.” P’erl called out, closing her eyes once again and allowing the strange gravity to pull her up and around.

“Ah, yes; that works. Thank you.” The lady said, popping the remains of a sandwich into her mouth as she continued to read. The book was huge, but weighed next to nothing, the paper thin and almost translucent. She loved the books on Europa, they had a magical element to them. She had spent hours already in the huge libraries there, filling her mind with the wonders of the universe.

“You have guests!” Came a voice from the window of the cottage. Ezra shook out a duster as he called down to them both.

“Oh, is that the time already. Wonderful!” The lady said, and she shut her book, carefully placing it down next to the now empty plates, the remains of a light lunch she had just enjoyed with P’erl.

The swing slowed, and P’erl hopped off, joining the lady of the jars as they made their way to the back door which stood ajar, letting the warm air inside. A grasshopper fled from the mat as they reached the door, hopping off into the grass.

“Any room for biscuits?” The lady asked P’erl as they stepped inside and entered the kitchen, going across to the counter where an array of cakes and tins of biscuits stood, ready for the guests.

“Always, especially homemade ones.” P’erl said, helping her get some plates and cups from the shelf.

Ezra appeared at the doorway, looking dusty and sweaty. He’d tied a bandana around his head to keep his hair out of the way to clean. and was wearing a cleaning apron that sported bluebells on it. The sight of him in full view made them both chuckle.

“Laugh all you want, but a bit of elbow grease is always needed around this place. It’s falling down you know! Why it’s only me who seems to do the hard work I do not know.” He said, despondently.

“Thank you, Ezra, for doing the cleaning, you don’t have to you know.” The lady said, plonking some gingerbread on a tray.

“Down to me as always.” Ezra replied. Coming across to help with the plates and trays.

They made their way through to the front room, the light pouring in through the windows. Ezra had tied the curtains up during the cleaning, little motes of escaped dust now speckling the room.

“Please could you start the fire P’erl, I hear it’s pretty brutal there at the moment.” The lady said, putting on a huge jumper and making her way towards the door. A jar next to her front door was bubbling with a blue substance, the insides jumping and glowing like a spluttering firework.

“Of course.” P’erl replied, and she knelt next to the huge open fire and conjured a brilliant blue and green flame which roared the area to life and cast a brilliant heat.

“Ready?” The lady asked, and she tapped a little script of words by her door frame. With it came a flash of white brilliance, the transformation happened.

For many one house is enough, one thing to take care of, one thing to clean and keep tidy. She loved her cottage by the river, she loved the children who came to hear her stories and listen to her amazing tales. The lady of the jars also loved Europa. She had fallen for the beauty of the planet, the kindness of the Europans, and the pull of something within her which told her that is where she needed to be. P’erl had been a missing piece in her life. Her arrival and her changing nature over the lady of the jars; and indeed, those around her, had given her exactly what she needed to grow and to be of use. To pass on her knowledge and to help make the change that was needed on earth. The world was better for what had taken place, and as the dust had settled; P’erl had explained to her the need for that process and how it was also required on other worlds, on other planets.

The Lady of the jars had stayed. As the gentleman of the boxes had returned, back to a world with regular seasons and weather patterns, he had shifted in his own soul, but she had also. She remained on the moon and with the help of P’erl she had replicated her cottage there on Europa, with the help of some magic. She lived in both places, learning, and growing, planning to help others in the great cleansing and returning that had so benefitted where she lived on earth. Using the power of the stones, she was able to build them into her little cottage, transforming it into a portal back and forth between Europa and Earth. Captured in a huge bubble on Europa under the ice, almost like a giant jar, her cottage in its own wizardry sat like a pocket of air. Many Europan’s fascinated by the types of weather that could be displayed in that little sphere. She was happy to share ranges of weather that could be displayed, no longer stuck with only winter and no longer fearing the sunshine.

As the sparks and the dust fluttered off into the snowy wind, they all bundled quickly into the cottage to get out of the cold. A few took off their shoes by the door, but many of the children rushed to a spot by the fire, closest to the heat and the treats which had been placed with care and attention by P’erl and Ezra. The lady of the jars hugged the gentleman of the boxes as he entered, a friendship now strong there and respect engrained. He couldn’t stay too long he’d explained, the tasks for the day not completed yet. Malthrop was on his list of deliveries, and Ezra said he would join him when he left to go see him also. They all settled cosily into the front room, thankful of the heat and eager for the wonder.

“Hello all, and merry Christmas!” The lady of the jars said as the children, their mouths already full of cake and gingerbread, listened quietly.

“Not just yet, besides you’ve not got any decorations.”   Benjamin said.

P’erl laughed.

“Well, yes but it is very nearly Christmas and the wintery weather I imagine is making you all festive.” The lady said.

“Can we help with the decorations?” Stacey asked, she sat properly on the mat by the fire, not helping herself to any cake just yet.

“Of course, how about this weekend? You know, I know some Europan children who would love to learn about the season too.” The lady said, and the eyes of those there in the room bulged in delight.

“Oh, and do please tell us a story about Europa.” Chu said, eagerly. The others chorused in in agreement.

The gentleman of the boxes had sat down in a huge chair opposite the lady, Ezra handing him a mug of hot chocolate. He passed around mugs for the children too, and as the fire spluttered and shone, P’erl looked at the lady and nodded her head.

“With the help of P’erl then I will tale you the story of K’lmatoi, the great ice creature which is a bit like a dragon, and who came to Europa in the tail of a comet.” The lady said, and above the children a small cloud appeared, hovering there in space. P’erl lifted her hand and out shot brilliant light which projected images and movements that helped tell the tale. As the images played out, and the children’s eyes danced in wonder, the lady of the jars popped some coconut ice into her mouth between sentences, following it with the hot chocolate that everyone seemed to be enjoying; letting the delicious drink warm her insides much like the good feeling that was burning brightly there in her little cottage. And was something that continued for many years ahead.

The snow, which had once fallen in it’s forever perpetualness before had now slowed, and the warm glow from inside flowed out of the windows, casting a bright hugging light to all around as the last few snowflakes tumbled. Winter no longer prevailed, but a forever feeling of love and joy certainly did.

The End


snowflake up close

Muddy deep sleep

Not over, not complete.
Just fading away.
A blissful depression hung up like ruby red apples.
Strung like silly smiles on those too drunk to know.
This moment washes over, the gravity pulls you down.
Chipping out teeth like tombstones yanked from the ground.
Oh the silence that it unearths.
The faded names who hoped the future would be different.
But the future just teaches loneliness.
As a departure descends.
That long goodbye, hard on the ears but softly spoken.
Trembling in time.
Nothing really dies.
We all just fade away.
Siphoned into space.
Breathed out on earth’s asthmatic exhale.
Heaving under strain.
Replaced by things we all despise.
How we spin and sigh and scream.
Reduced to floating dust and regret.
Asleep and dormant, waiting for the nothing.
Fearing the repeat.

Typhoid and many swans


TYPHOID AND SWANS

Summer days with rain.
A tearing at this side.
Spilling petals and ruin.
A Day with the night.
The moon, coming into view pocked and dusty.
Out in the ocean, cast into life.
Waiting for the smile to flow from a sentence.
Communication, then nothing.
Nothing, then communication.
A constant pulse of anxious disregard.
Release now, free of feelings.
Feathers dipped in oil.
Diseases and love that swallow like a lake.
To eat off of chipped china, filling stomachs swollen with greed.
And such need.
To scrub away the blood that stains.
The candy stuck in the tooth.
We are all but sticks floating down the river of life.
Passing through the weeping willows of the world.
Making our way to swamps, not seas.

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Future in the ridiculing stars

In this weakness, I split a seam.
Pulled like a petal on the winds.
Love crept in before I could find the right words.
Ones to keep it at bay.
And its wonderment that now rushes me like a ghost.
Leaving precious bits of joy between my teeth.
Bits of your soul to chew over.
A deeper thread is laid.
Woven with violets and green tea murmurings.
Heady conversations that drum in my mind.
The universe repeats such rehearsed dialogue.
Playing back, your voice like that of god.
Words I heard before, now more precious than ever.
I left the universe there, captured in a moment.
Cupped in my hands next to your precious heart.
Struggling against the sun and the sanity.
Threatening such a beautiful return of Saturn.
The homeward point of my compass.
We fight the need to collapse into now.
Knowing the future is brighter when the stars in our blood pool.

 

Aligned

Words tumbling like teeth.
The gravity that pulls beneath.
Sweet words that wreak such havoc.
Three lined up like stars.
The arrow across the cosmos.
Aimed at my heart, pulled as always by your fingers.
Ones I’ve kissed before.
As they’ve trembled.
Aligned our bones to keep the cold out.
The travesty of dependence and care.
Though you find the words, you seemed afraid to talk.
Looking westward.
Eyes searching for the southern air.
The beach where we used to walk.
Let me cup you in my thoughts.
That wrap around like time.
Bleeding ink into your paper heart.
Staining your soul with love.

Tea?

“Take milk in your tea Janine?” the old lady called, her purple hands gripping the milk jug tightly. She stood by the fridge, the yellow light illuminating her aged face. The small creature in the chair shook her head.

“Odd. Couldn’t have a tea without a nice bit of milk, me!” She said, and as if to prove the point; she slopped the milk in her own cup on the table, bringing the contents up to the brim. She returned the milk jug back to the fridge and sat down opposite the girl.

“Digestive?” She asked, nudging the plate full of biscuits towards the young creature.

She shook her head again, her coloured red hair falling down in front of her face.

“You kids these days, never eat anything. All skin and bone. When I was a child, my mother used to feed us dripping on bread. That would put meat on you!”

She pulled the plate of biscuits back towards her and stole one up off the china. She took a bite. The girl watched as the crumbs fell onto her flowery blouse carelessly, some falling on the dark wooden table beneath.

“Me’ husband used to love digestive biscuits, his favourite they were. Always dunking them in his tea. He used to get so mad if they fell in.” She laughed at the memory and took another bite from her own biscuit which had escaped the perilous dunk intact. The clock on the wall behind them ticked away merrily, filling the silence with its pendulous rhythm.

Her kitchen was small but clean. It was dated, like most kitchens of the elderly; but was cosy in an old cottage way. The two of them sat at the table while the afternoon sun shone through the windows. The girl shifted in her seat. The old lady looked up.

“Are you uncomfortable?” She asked sweetly.

The girl didn’t say anything but continued to stare at her across the table.

“Would you like me to call your parents to come and pick you up? It’s getting late.” She said. She drank some of her tea casually.

At this the girl raised her head slightly.

The old lady nodded. She put down her cup and slid her chair back. She walked around the table slowly, holding her side where her hip usually acted up this time of the day. She stood behind the girl and pulled the tape off her mouth. It was wet slightly as the girls’ tears had trickled down upon it.

“Please, let me go. I’m so sorry. Please, I just want to get out of here. I won’t tell anyone….” The girl sobbed. Her eyes were as red as her coloured hair. Her hands were tied to the back of the chair with a belt, which had belonged to the husband who had so enjoyed digestive biscuits.

“I’d be happy to. But what’s to stop you coming back, eh? Or breaking into Ethel’s house next door?” the old woman said. And with this she reached to the counter and picked up the large bread knife she had on her chopping board. She placed it down next to the girl, whose eyes flared at the sight of it.

“We won’t. We won’t I swear, please just let me and the others go.” The girl, no older than fifteen, wailed. The old lady chuckled.

“Oh, I’m afraid Jack has been having some fun with your friends down in the cellar. I doubt there’s much left of them now. He’s such a good dog. Very loyal.” The old woman said. She picked up the knife and slipped it through the belt buckle, freeing the girl’s hands.

The girl sat there, the weight of the situation falling upon her in that heavy moment. She glanced at the back door, not far really. If she pushed the old lady and made a run for it, she could probably make it. But what if it was locked? The old lady walked back around the table, the knife in her hand, the other holding her dodgy hip. She heaved heavily; years of smoking had finally caught up with her.

“Well. I’m not going to hurt you; not like you’d do to me I’d say. I think a fright is bad enough for a girl your age.”

“Then what do you want?” The girl asked, fresh confusion in her skull.

The old lady looked at her with her milky eyes, as if surprised by the question.

“Why, to have some tea of course.” She said, lifting her cup; indicating she should do the same. The girl stared for a moment longer before conceding and picked up the tea that sat on the table in front of her. Her hands shook and were sore from being bound to the chair. She was unsure of playing along, but now her hands were free, she sensed a bit more of a chance of escape.

Lifting it to her lips she sipped from the cup, the scorching water burning her mouth in her haste to drink it. She flashed her eyes to the old lady, as if to say ‘okay, now let me go’.

“There. That wasn’t too bad, was it?” She said, sipping her own mug which had a picture of Charles and Diana on the china. She closed her eyes, savouring the brewy goodness of a warm cup of tea, deeply satisfied.

It had been about a month ago that she’d had rats in her garden, and a nice chap from the council had brought some traps and some rat poison to do away with the horrid beasts.


Taken from Impermanence of things – out now

Impermanence of things of things book cover

Taking you apart again


TAKE YOU APART

To pull open your world, and sneak inside.
Tearing out your heart, giving you mine.
Feeling each rise and fall of your chest.
Would lay me out like gold.
Each breath conquers me.
As you lick your lips.
Suggesting that is where we build our home.
On the tip of something beautiful.
We’ve cried out our past.
Knocked down each remnant of uncertainty.
Covering our delicate present in feathers and down.
For this is where we shall collapse.
And watch true love collide.
Collecting it up in a bucket of flesh and stars.

MORE VIDEO ART HERE


 

Everything I know, fades away

A formulaic response to want.
Filling in the void that smothers with blackness.
Empty like the thoughts of change.
In minds that remain the same.
Yet a latent strain of kindness struggled.
Crept out of the soil that covered us.
Sparked by the light in your eyes.
As it crept down in time.
An now the world is fragrant once again.
Washed with colour and vividness.
Alive with flowers that bloom.
For I know, I will be with you soon.

Sometimes, only tears

Throw it away.
It hangs heavy in your hands.
A broken love all torn and heavy.
Easy to let it slip into the folds of time.
It came there suddenly, the tear in their eye.
Hanging like a beautiful jewel in the corner of the fleshy oyster.
Threatening.
Threatening to tumble, fall and disappear.
Smudge into a cheek or dripped away with fear.
The silence kisses the skin, and darkness breathes upon the neck.
An invasion hurried by the darkest forces.
Throw it away.
Wouldn’t it be better.
The pumping flower struggling to survive.
Wet with dew drops birthed in this moment.
The tears speak of a hurt, unseen yet complete.
A collapse inside like twin towers.
Don’t listen to the breaking.
How can they throw it away.
Something they cannot call their own.
Wouldn’t it be better.
If they stayed?

Conjured darkness III

PART IPART II


The small wooden cross Mary had on her wall had slipped, tumbling free from the crooked nail which was driven into her dark small cottage. She noticed it now in the candlelight, her attention brought to that empty space on the wall by a reason she could not place. She went across and picked it up, holding it in her hands, remembering her mother who had fashioned it from the wood that surrounded them there in the village. Her mother, so capable. Cooking creating, tilling, mending. She did it all, for it were her and her children only. Mary, now half her mother’s age when she died, looked at the small cross, her thoughts snatching a prayer somewhere in her mind.

It was then she heard it.

Going to her small window, she looked up into the sky at first, the screeching wails sounding like birds fighting. In the night it was odd, maybe owls she thought. It came again, this time lower and more awful, drifting over the trees which lay all around. A candle flickered to life in her neighbour’s house, the village being awoken by a noise that seem to come from another world. Mary saw it then, a dark stain in the sky looming over Pollux Hall. It was like a smudge in the sky, a dark oil seeming to leak and spread from the tip of the tower, the only part visible from where she was in the village. She clutched the cross tighter, the evils of the world now loose in the land it seemed.

A thump on the door startled her, and she called out in alarm.

“Who is there?”

No answer returned, but the sturdy wooden door suddenly swung forth revealing Jacob, out of breath and eyes wide, hovering on the threshold.

“Mary, it is time.” He heaved as he tried to catch his breath. He had run from the church, the wolves following him. His eyes were darting all around, but he did not enter her house.

“Jacob, come inside. There is death in the air tonight.” Mary said, coming towards him. Jacob ducked inside and slammed the door, the sound of a wolf howling nearby followed him inside.

“Wolves?!” Mary asked, surprised. Jacob nodded.

“Did you hear the sound before?” He asked her, his eyes fixing on the cross then back to her eyes.

“Yes, and look, Pollux Hall.” She said, drawing him over to the window where the darkness swirled above the tower.

“It is time Mary, it is tonight. I’ve seen them all, I watched them gather. They go to free Agatha from the hall.” He said, almost gleefully.

“All of them?” Mary asked, a gasp in her words.

“All of them, tonight is the night. We must hurry though. They must be there already and who knows what is happening with those men in the mix up there.” He added. She stood for a moment, as if unsure of what to do next. The darkness spluttering over her candle and her mind taken to many places all at once. She then put the cross on the side and went across to the small cupboard in the corner.

“It is ready, though?” Jacob asked her.

“Yes, it is ready.” Mary replied and took out a black sack from the cupboard.

“We must be quick; the wolves are thirsty for more than just our blood.” He said. She nodded, taking a cloak from a peg.

“I know what will help.” And she took down from above her door some sprigs of flowers and herbs, intertwined with twigs and string. She handed them to him, and he smiled.

“I hope so.” He said, and they both left quickly, their path hastened as they made their way towards the hall through the village. The wolves, watching, but kept at bay.

He rubbed his eyes, the glass that had showered down had covered them all. He felt a sharp pain, a piece of glass caught at the corner of his eye, his vision on one side flooded with a crimson lens.

The room suddenly froze, the temperature dropping like snowfall. A sound and wind flurried inside, scratching at their minds and souls.

Agatha stood, her bonds now gone, and her stare fixed upon those men before her.

A blackness began to pour inside through the broken windows, a thick oozing smog as dark as charcoal flooded all around them. Some of the men tried for the door, but it would not yield, and in the trapped panic thye left-out yells of fear and weakness.

Jonathan watched through the only eye that could now see, his mouth mumbling prayers and sacred words which he hoped would protect him and the others there. God was not listening it seemed as a demon like figure began to mass there in the tower, the smoke filling into a being that sucked the light from the room. Outside they heard yells and calls, the others being attacked and laid upon by the other witches who had travelled there that night. Their identities still hidden, even in those dying moments of breath to those guards.

Inside the tower a voice began to utter the foulest words to those righteous men. It seemed to creep out of the walls and all over their skin, echoing in the chambers of their mind. It spoke to them of a reckoning, of a day which had come to pass when all would see for what truth was abound in the land.

Margellwood hunched over Agatha, a towering figure now behind her, seeming to fill the space they shared. Jonathan slumped against the wall, the others in their panic and fear huddled on the other side, clutching tightly to their crosses. The voice rang out still, the rain now pouring in from the window and splattering the wooden floor with rainy tears.

“And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words.” Jonathan said, an anger rising in him.

Margellwood stopped suddenly, flicking her head towards him.

“He speaks now does he, he acts now against his own demise.” She coughed, the words sticky and heavy.

“You have no power here, and you will not banish us into the dark. You mistake your actions here for power.” He bravely retorted. Margellwood laughed, her cackle fading to a hiss.

“You are not important, and you will not succeed. I can wither your heart Jonathan Prose, splinter your bones and send you mad with voices. But now, you will watch as what you hope for the most to disappear, and for you to lose.” The Witch said, placing her hand upon Agatha.

“You are the mistaken and forsaken one.” He said, and he pulled out his book and began to recite lines from it. The air swirled and hummed, a greyness suddenly buckling the light in the room. With a snarl Margellwood vomited out a sludge, hissing words bubbling and exploding out of it. It oozed and rose up off the floor, floating towards the men and coating the walls. The words seemed to battle one another, caught in a fight to overrun and devour.

Agatha turned, she looked up to the creature that Margellwood had risen into. She found her eyes and searched there, for only a moment. She turned and looked at the room, seeking something that seemed to be missing.

“Come, we must go.” She suddenly said to the witch, and she clapped three times and the room burst into flames, the darkness slithering out of the high window above like steam leaving a dead body in the cold.

Jacob and Mary could see the tower now, fire licking out of the high windows, illuminating the dead night’s sky. They ran on further up the hill, the trees clustering around them like lost souls coming together. They stopped suddenly seeing the dark shapes appear from the air in front of them.

They hadn’t been seen, and they ducked down low, a thicket at the side of the path covering them. They heard the voices now; it was Agatha and Margellwood. Mary took Jacob’s hand, not out of fear, but to steady his heart.

“You came.” Agatha said, her voice sweet and low, almost a whisper.

“They are done taking. Tonight, it all ends.” Margellwood said, running her hand through the woman’s hair gently.

Around them, coming out of the trees and with pops of black smoke the other witches appeared. Hooting and wailing, clicking their fingers in rhythmic unison.

“Tonight, we shall dominate and lay a waste to this rotten land!” Margellwood called, seeing the others appearing around them.

Mary and Jacob felt a kick behind them, and they both fell forward out of the thicket and back onto the road. They both stumbled to their feet, and the witches encircled them, leeringly.

Agatha came towards them, her eyes wide with an unusual light dancing in them. Off into the tree the howl of wolves was heard, and as the tower behind them burnt, the screams of men rattled through the sky.

“Over. It is over.” Agatha said. The other witches began to chant, a horrible, gurgled incantation that they rumbled and shouted. Some of them leaping into the air, the space now alive with movement and sound.

Jacob clutched Mary’s hand and they stood forth defiantly.

“You are not lost to us cousin.” Mary said, her free hand outstretched.

“Death shall take you master Jacob, Mary death will spirit you off tonight.” Margellwood hissed, coming up behind Agatha. “To see your sister, down in the ground.”

“Keep your vile mouth shut you witch.” Jacob roared.

The all laughed around him, bar Agatha. She looked at the small sack that Mary had at her waist. Her eyes flashing there in a moment of realisation.

“It won’t work, it would be folly to try.” Agatha said suddenly, stepping backwards in alarm.

Mary caught her stare and realised she had understood. She snatched at the sack, and Jacob reached quickly into his pocket.

“Tricks and toys is it?” Margellwood snarled, mockingly.

Agatha turned and ran, back up the path towards the hall. Margellwood turned, watching her, a confusion now spreading across her face like a setting sun.

“What’s thou….”  But in that moment an engulfing light had sprung from the black sack and the words that followed from Jacob seized all of those present in a captured state. The skin on the witches became taught, and they rigidly creaked and cracked as if water were being squeezed from dead wood. Their faces contorted, spasms of anger and horror flashed across them until they all collapsed to the floor. All except Margellwood who seemed to be trying to resist the most. Jacob pressed on., reading aloud from a small book he held in his hand. The light and the sound now coming from the sack danced and glided around them, bathing them in an ethereal glow. The sound, at trumpeting call of another world, seemed to kiss upon the skin.

Margellwood snarled, her eyes leaking a blackness now. Oily tears staining her face. She fell to her knees finally and dove her hands into the earth and seemed to be pleading, begging for something. In a final move she had bitten off part of her tongue which flopped from her mouth now as the rest of her body crumpled to the ground. The witches all now lay about the road and by the trees, still but not dead, a change overtaking them as their souls silently came back. Mary looked at Jacob and smiled, they had succeeded.

Agatha ran, her heart pulsing now in her chest. She could hear the blood in her head, the river of red rushing around her mind. She ran up to the hall, the tower now completely engulfed in the flames which reached up towards heaven. She could see shapes moving in the courtyard below, dark images seeming to smoulder in the cold air. She ran onwards, past the hall and down through the garden to the stream which flowed at the back. She stopped by the banks, looking all around, hoping not to find what she was looking for.

It was there though, across the stream. It’s hunched shape dark and threatening. She fell to her knees and closed her eyes. Little spots of white floating in the space before her as she heard the flames, the voices of the men and the sound of a trumpet away from where she rested. She bit her lip, to feel something, to see where she was still and if it were really true. Opening her eyes she felt a warm feeling across her cheek, like sunshine catching her skin. The creature beyond stood, a rotting smell seeming to float across the water towards her from it.

“I take it back.” She threw the line out to the figure. Her words quiet and having much less weight than she’d hoped.

The figure looked at her, saying nothing.

“I can do that, I can choose!” She said again, desperately.

The figure took a step towards her, a groan emitting from it’s very centre. Agatha clutched her chest, frightened now and loosing hope. She closed her eyes again, despite the figure moving towards her, a ghostly groaning heaving out of it. Her hand still on her chest, she sighed. Light tears coming to her eyes.

“I am sorry.” She said, meaning those words more then any she had meant in her life. Repeating them unknowingly, waiting for the fade.

The village was bright as the sun speckled the thatched roofs withs it’s afternoon rays. A light rain had just fallen, and the sunshine shimmered off like beautiful diamonds. Though the market town nearby was the great hub of activity for selling wares, the village now bustled with the same energy with many people passing through and stopping to gather by the church and small the circled area in the centre of the village. Colourful ribbons were hung about, and the place had a May festival feel to it with laughter easily heard above the chatter from those who lingered. The church’s doors were wide open, and music flowed out of the huge wooden box, luring people towards it with the promise of food, entertainment and joy.

Mary and Jacob stood by the door, bundling little sprigs of heather together and handing them out to those who wanted them. Inside the church, the pews had gone, leaving the space open, where people came and went. In the far corner Agatha sat on a stool next to an old man, the sleaves on his arm rolled up. She was shaking something in a small vile, watching the amber liquid separate from the water within. He grimaced as he looked at the bench next to them, all manner of instruments and potions set forth. She caught his stare, and patted his hand reassuringly, he smiled back at her as she popped the lid from the vile and got to work.

Outside in the cemetery, fresh graves had been dug and recently occupied. Those who had not survived the events had been buried with rites and a service not before seen in the village. With their passing though, came a peace it seemed. One of the graves, not far from that of Jacob’s sister which sported fresh heather and flowers, was large and it too bore fresh flowers. Milada Margellwood, now at peace. A swirling triquetra symbol proudly, and almost defiantly, pride of place on her grave marker. Maiden, Mother, and Crone.

END